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The Swinging Blue Jeans

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The Swinging Blue Jeans
The Swinging Blue Jeans in 1965
The Swinging Blue Jeans in 1965
Background information
OriginLiverpool, England
Years active1962–present
LabelsHis Master's Voice, Imperial, Capitol, Bellaphon, Columbia (EMI), RCA
Past membersRalph Ellis
Ray Ennis
Les Braid
Norman Kuhlke
Terry Sylvester
Colin Manley
John Ryan
Bruce McCaskill
Mike Gregory
Mick McCann
Jim Rodford
Hedley Vick
Garth Elliott
Phil Thompson
Tommy Hughes
Alan Lovell
WebsiteOfficial website

The Swinging Blue Jeans are a four-piece 1960s British Merseybeat band, best known for their hit singles with the HMV label: "Hippy Hippy Shake", "Good Golly Miss Molly", and "You're No Good", issued in 1964. Subsequent singles released that year and the next made no impression. In 1966, their version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Don't Make Me Over" peaked at no. 31 in the UK Singles Chart, but the group never charted again.[1][2][3][4]


The group had its origins in 1957, when Bruce McCaskill formed a jazz influenced skiffle sextet called the Bluegenes. Besides guitarist/vocalist McCaskill, the original line-up also included banjo player Tommy Hughes, washboard player Norman Kuhlke, and oil drum bass player Spud Ward. There were a number of early personnel changes, as guitarist Ralph Ellis joined the band and Ward was replaced by Les Braid. Johnny Carter and Paul Moss entered the band to replace Hughes and McCaskill. They were a fully working band by 1962, playing skiffle at venues in Liverpool and at the Star Club in Hamburg. The German audiences booed them off the stage, however, and the group rapidly changed direction and focus.[5] They switched to rock and roll, and with a name change to reflect their attire, to the Swinging Blue Jeans. This earned the band, then a quintet featuring Ennis, Braid, Ellis, Kuhlke and Moss, a recording contract with HMV with record producer, Walter Ridley. The quintet's first recording, "It's Too Late Now", which was written by Ennis, made the British Top 30. After the departure of Moss, the band became a quartet. In December 1963, a cover of the song "Hippy Hippy Shake" took the band to Number two on the British charts and established them as stars.[5]

They had a three-year spell of success, rising and falling with Merseybeat itself.[5] The Swinging Blue Jeans had the standard Shadows line-up of two guitars, a bass guitar and drums and achieved local fame with their appearances at the Mardi Gras Club and the Cavern Club.

An album Blue Jeans a-Swinging was released in 1964 by HMV; a contemporaneous American LP composed of 45 and EP tracks, Hippy Hippy Shake included the released-in-the-US-only instrumental, "Wasting Time".

The Swinging Blue Jeans performing in 2013
The Swinging Blue Jeans performing in 2013

In early 1966, Terry Sylvester from The Escorts replaced Ellis, who had shared songwriting duties with Ray Ennis.[5] The band drifted into a middle of the road direction which failed to bring them any success. In 1967, the band's producer Ridley decided to try and transform Ennis into a solo star, cutting the disc "Tremblin'" with session musicians and backing vocals by Madeline Bell and Kiki Dee, but it was ultimately released under the band's name. Also in that year the band went to a five piece unit with the introduction of another member from The Escorts, bass player Mike Gregory, with Braid moving on to keyboards. Sylvester left at the end of 1968 to replace Graham Nash in The Hollies.[5] The band eventually retired to the cabaret circuit.[5]

Early in 1999, Alan Lovell deputised for guitarist Colin Manley due to his deteriorating health. Manley died in April 1999 and Lovell became a permanent member of the band as lead guitarist/vocalist. When Les Braid died in 2005, Peter Oakman took over on bass guitar/vocals.

At the end of The Solid Silver Sixties tour in May 2010, Ray Ennis officially retired, announcing his retirement on radio and to the general public. During and prior to the tour, Ennis offered Lovell the opportunity to continue with the band under the name "The Swinging Blue Jeans". Initially Lovell declined but subsequently registered the trademark of the name "The Swinging Blue Jeans" without Ray Ennis's knowledge. Phil Thompson (drums) was unable to continue with band due to personal reasons so, in June 2010, two new musicians joined, Graham Hollingworth (drums) and Jeff Bannister (keyboards/vocals).

Ennis then decided to challenge Lovell for the ownership of the trademark but a Court decision ruled that Lovell had exclusive legal rights to the name. A subsequent appeal was lodged but was also dismissed. Meanwhile, Ennis came out of retirement to make occasional appearances with another band under the name "Ray Ennis's Blue Jeans".

The Swinging Blue Jeans continue to perform today, with no original members, under the leadership of Lovell.

Band members

  • Ray Ennis – Vocalist / lead guitarist – born Raymond Vincent Ennis, 26 May 1940, Huyton, Liverpool – 1957 – 2010[6]
  • Les Braid – Bassist / keyboardist – born William Leslie Braid, 15 September 1937, West Derby Road, West Derby, Liverpool – died 31 July 2005, Fazakerley Hospital, Fazakerley, Liverpool – 1957–2005[7]
  • Norman Kuhlke[8] – Drummer – born 17 June 1942, Liverpool – 1957 – 1969
  • Ralph Ellis – Guitarist/vocalist – born 8 March 1942, Liverpool – 1958–1966[9]
  • Norman Houghton – Washboard – born 18 September 1940, Liverpool – 1957[10]
  • Jimmy Hudson – Double bass – 1957–1958[11]
  • Kenneth Metcalf – Lead vocalist, guitar – 1957[12]
  • Arthur Griffiths – Guitarist – 1957[13]
  • Tommy Hughes – Banjo – 1958–1959 – born 7 May 1938 – died 21 September 2013[14]
  • Paul Moss – Banjo – 1959–1963 - born 1942 [15]
  • John E. Carter – Singer, guitarist – born 21 May 1938, Liverpool. Carter came from HyKatz Skiffle Group in 1959, before leaving for Canada in June 1961.[16]
  • Terry Sylvester – Singer, guitarist – born 8 January 1946, Allerton, Liverpool. Sylvester came from The Escorts in Feb 1966, before leaving to replace Graham Nash in The Hollies in December 1969.[17]
  • Colin Manley – Lead Guitarist – born Colin William Manley, 16 April 1942, Old Swan, Liverpool – died 9 April 1999 - member from 1977 to 1999 [18]
  • John Ryan – Drummer – born 5 April 1953, Pinehurst Avenue, Liverpool – 1980–1983[19]
  • Bruce McCaskill[20] – Guitarist / vocalist – born Bruce Thomas McCaskill, 15 January 1940, Liverpool died 24 December 1993, Los Angeles, California – 1957–1959
  • Mike Gregory – Bass guitarist – born Michael Gregory, 7 November 1946, Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Liverpool – 1967–1972[21]
  • Michael Pynn – 1972–1975 lead guitar, vocals, recorded two albums & toured Scandinavia[22]
  • Kenny Goodlass – Drummer – Liverpool[23]
  • Jim Rodford – Bass guitarist – born 7 July 1941, St Albans - died January 20, 2018[24]
  • Keith Dodd - lead guitar former member of Ricky Gleason and the Topspots, he can be seen playing with them on Wheeltappers and Shunters club[25]
  • Phil Thompson – Drummer – born 18 October 1947, Liverpool; joined the band in 1983. Died April 2018[26]
  • Hedley Vick[27] – Guitarist – 24 April 1952, Bromborough, Merseyside; 1975/6 including tours of UK, Europe and New Zealand; brother of opera director, Graham Vick
  • Alan Lovell – Guitarist – born 5 January 1952, Newtown, Wales – 1999 – present incarnation [28]
  • Jeff Bannister – Keyboardist, vocalist – born Jeffrey Bannister, 7 January 1943, Slough, Berkshire[29]
  • Pete Oakman – Bassist, vocalist – born Peter Andrew Oakman, 12 December 1943, Cuffley, Hertfordshire – 2010[30]
  • Spud Ward – Double bassist, bass guitar, songwriter – born Albert James Ward, 2 November 1940, Walton, Liverpool – 1957–1958[31]



Year Single Peak chart positions
1963 "It's Too Late Now"
b/w "Think of Me"
"Do You Know"
b/w "Angie"
"Hippy Hippy Shake"
b/w "Now I Must Go"
2 11 2 2 9 2 5 1 1 24
1964 "Good Golly Miss Molly"
b/w "Shaking Feeling"
11 32 12 16 35 6 8 5 43
"Shakin' All Over" (Scandinavia and Finland-only release)
b/w "Shake, Rattle and Roll"
7 9
"You're No Good"
b/w "Don't You Worry About Me"
3 67 27 18 97
"Promise You'll Tell Her"
b/w "It's So Right"
37 130
"Tutti Frutti"
b/w "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"
"It Isn't There"
b/w "One of These Days"
1965 "Make Me Know You're Mine"
b/w "I've Got a Girl"
"Ready Teddy" (Norway-only release)
b/w "Lovey Dovey"
"Ol' Man Mose" (Netherlands and Scandinavia-only release)
b/w "Save the Last Dance for Me" / "It Isn't There"
"Crazy 'Bout My Baby"
b/w "Good Lovin'"
1966 "Don't Make Me Over"
b/w "What Can I Do Today"
31 35 83 116
b/w "I'm Gonna Have You"
"Rumours, Gossip, Words Untrue"
b/w "Now the Summer's Gone"
1967 "Tremblin'"
b/w "Something's Coming Along"
"Don't Go Out into the Rain (You're Gonna Melt)"
b/w "One Woman Man"
1968 "What Have They Done to Hazel" (as Ray Ennis and the Blue Jeans)
b/w "Now That You've Got Me (You Don't Seem to Want Me)"
1969 "Hey Mrs. Housewife" (as the Bluejeans)
b/w "Sandfly"
1970 "Happy" (as Music Motor)
b/w "Where Am I Going?"
1973 "Rainbow Morning"
b/w "Cottonfields"
1974 "Dancing"
b/w "Baby Mine"
"Hippy Hippy Shake" (re-recorded version; Germany-only release)
b/w "Long Tall Sally"
1975 "Sunday Morning Sunshine" (Germany-only release)
b/w "Ain't No Sunshine"
1976 "Hippy Hippy Shake" (re-recorded version; UK release)
b/w "Baby Mine"
"Like It Mean (Love Machine)" (as S.B.J. Band)
b/w "Angel"
1980 "Whole Lotta Trouble" (Continental Europe-only release)
b/w "You Win Again"
"Tonight's the Night" (Germany and Portugal-only release)
b/w "Bangin' in My Head"
1981 "Old Rock 'n' Roller" (Germany-only release)
b/w "Angel"
"Way Down Yonder" (Norway-only release)
b/w "Angel"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


  • Hippy Hippy Shake (1964) – US no. 90[44]
  • Blue Jeans a'Swinging (1964)[45] Hippy Hippy Shake (1964) [Capitol T 6069] Canada.
  • Tutti Frutti (1964) [Regal SREG 1073] Export only issue of first album
  • Live aus dem "Cascade Beat Club" in Köln (1965) [Electrola SME 83 927] Germany only
  • Don't Make Me Over (1966) [Capitol T 6159] Canada only
  • The Swinging Blue Jeans (1967) [MFP 1163] Reissue of first album
  • Hippy Hippy Shake (1973) [Grand Prix, GP 10025] Swedish label; includes tracks not available in the UK
  • Brand New and Faded (1974) [Dart, BULL 1001]
  • Jump 'n' Jeans (1979) [Mace Records, ACE 001]
  • Best of the Swinging Blue Jeans [NUT 15] Compilation album, 1963–67[46]

See also


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".


  1. ^ "The Swinging Blue Jeans – New Songs, Playlists & Latest News – BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Back to the 60's SWINGING BLUE JEANS Supported by FAB". Pigs Nose Inn. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  3. ^ "The Swinging Blue Jeans – Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 544. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Bruce Eder. "The Swinging Blue Jeans | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Ray Ennis & The Original Blue Jeans | Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  7. ^ Clayson, Alan (31 August 2005). "Obituary: Les Braid". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Norman Kuhlke". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  9. ^ "1942 – Born on this day, Ralph Ellis, The Swinging Blue Jeans | Rock History". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  10. ^ "The SWINGING BLUE JEANS biography". The Great Rock Bible. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  11. ^ "The Bluegenes". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Page Title". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  13. ^ "The Swinging Blue Jeans". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Page Title". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  15. ^ Dunsbee, Tony (1 March 2015). Gathered From Coincidence: A Singular history of Sixties' pop. M-Y Books. ISBN 9781909908338.
  16. ^ Perusse, Bernard (14 October 2016). "From the Beatles to Beaconsfield: A love story with a Mersey beat | Montreal Gazette". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Terry Sylvester". The Fest for Beatles Fans. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Colin Manley - Bill Harry - Mersey Beat". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  19. ^ "The Swinging Blues Jeans". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  20. ^ "The Iron Door Club: Bruce McCaskill Achieves Success". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  21. ^ "From an Escort to a Bluejean to the Circus - Mike Gregory - Mersey Beat". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  22. ^ "The SWINGING BLUE JEANS biography". The Great Rock Bible. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  23. ^ Music Motor - Happy, retrieved 15 March 2019
  24. ^ James, Derek. "Swinging Blue Jeans are back in action". Norwich Evening News. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  25. ^ "MerseyCats - The Liverpool R 'N' R Childrens Charity-Maja's Memories of the Star Club". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Hippy, hippy, shake at Towngate with 60s act". Echo. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Hedley Vick". Discogs. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  28. ^ "THE BAND ARE". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  29. ^ "History | JEFF BANNISTER". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  30. ^ "PETER OAKMAN - HISTORY". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  31. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Sounds Of The 60s with Tony Blackburn - The Swinging Blue Jeans". BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  32. ^ "SWINGING BLUE JEANS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  33. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade – week of April 27, 1964". Retrieved 30 June 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade – week of May, 25 1964". Retrieved 30 June 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  36. ^ "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1960: Artistit SUG - SÄR". Sisältää hitin. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. ^ "Suche - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  38. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  39. ^ "Dutch Charts -". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  40. ^ " - Norwegian charts portal". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  41. ^ "Swinging Blue Jeans - Se alla låtar och listplaceringar". NostalgiListan (in Swedish). Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  42. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1994). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1993. Record Research. p. 586. ISBN 9780898201048.
  43. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1982). Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Hot 100 1959–1981. Record Research. p. 163. ISBN 9780898200478.
  44. ^ "The Swinging Blue Jeans | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  45. ^ "Swinging Bluejeans". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  46. ^ "SWINGING BLUE JEANS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
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The Swinging Blue Jeans
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